Call for Proposals: Sensory Reflections

51st International Congress on Medieval Studies
May 12-15, 2016
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo, MI
Sensory Reflections: Traces of Experience in Medieval Artifacts
Sponsored by the Stanford University Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies
DEADLINE: September 15, 2015
The rich potential of medieval matter (most obviously manuscripts and visual imagery, but also liturgical objects, coins, textiles, architecture, amulets, graves, etc.) to complement and even transcend purely textual sources is by now well established in medieval scholarship across the disciplines.  So, too, attention to medieval sensory experiences—most prominently emotion—has transformed our understanding of medieval religious life and spirituality, violence, power, and authority, friendship, and constructions of both the self and the other.  This session draws the two approaches together, plumbing medieval material sources for traces of sensory experience - above all ephemeral and physical experiences that, unlike emotion, are rarely fully described or articulated in texts.  Papers should address some of the varied ways that the experiences of the senses could be communicated (or constructed) through medieval objects.   
Proposals for presentations of no more than 20 minutes should be sent to Fiona Griffiths ( or Kathryn Starkey ( no later than Sept. 15. 
Proposals should be accompanied by the Participant Information Form, available at